Saudi Arabia has been a longtime ally of the US. The alliance experienced a hiccup when Saudis bankrolled the 9/11 attacks. Saudi Arabia is a bulwark against our enemy Iran’s efforts to become the dominant power in the Middle East.
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has led to an outcry in Europe and the US with shrill calls for the punishment of the Saudi Kingdom.
The CIA has now concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi. Although the Saudis insist that the Crown Prince had absolutely nothing to do with the journalist’s murder, the CIA is probably right. The critics of Middle Eastern government leaders are often imprisoned or murdered.
What makes this case different is that Khashoggi has been living in the US and was a Washington Post columnist.
Once the murder came to light, pressure was put on President Trump to punish the Saudis. That pressure is now stronger than ever because of the CIA’s conclusion.
So what is Trump supposed to do? Send a secret CIA assassination squad to Saudi Arabia to chop off bin Salman’s head?
I say that Trump should condemn the murder in the strongest of terms, but do so without referring to the Crown Prince in any way. That’s all and nothing more! After all, if Khashoggi had not been a journalist, his murder would have caused only a blip in the media and there would have been no calls for the punishment of Saudi Arabia.
The enemy of our enemy is our friend. It makes no sense whatsoever to drive a wedge between us and the ally that we depend on in our conflict with Iran.